China’s cities are fast emptying out with millions of people heading home and expected to make nearly 3 billion trips during the fortnight-long celebrations to welcome the Chinese New Year of Rooster on January 27, triggering the world’s largest annual migration.
Roads, railways, bus stations and airports are already experiencing a big rush with millions heading home to be with their families to bid good bye to the year of Goat and welcome the Rooster year.
About 2.98 billion trips are expected to be made during the Spring Festival travel rush between January 13 and February 21, slightly up from a year ago, China’s planning body the National Development and Reform Commission said.
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Chunyun, literally meaning “spring transport,” was first coined as a phrase by the media in 1954 to describe heavy traffic around Spring Festival.
The New Year celebrations also include the annual Spring Festival which is celebrated for nearly a fortnight though the official holidays are confined to about a week.
It is a big event specially for about 300 million migrant workers, the muscle behind China’s economic might, who heads to their villages with their precious savings to meet their parents and in many cases their left behind children to celebrate the new year.
Chinese lunar calendar, years are grouped into a 12-year cycle, with each year assigned an animal symbol: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
As per the Zodiac calendar, 2017 is the year of Rooster.
Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month.
The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon.
During the festival time, Chinese leaders celebrate the event with rural communities.
President Xi Jinping is currently visiting Zhangjiakou in northern China’s Hebei Province, where he inspected an impoverished village, visiting and chatting with poor families, discussing how they could shake off poverty.